What are Meridians?

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Want to listen to the 'What are Meridians' podcast episode? Click Here.

Put quite simply, meridians are energy lines in our body that create a map with pathways that allow our energy to run freely through our body.

These pathways carry qi, blood and information through our entire body and also link up with all of our organs. It’s possible for parts of these energy lines to become obstructed, stagnant, or blocked and so it’s important to understand what they are, what they consist of and where they are so that we can use this information system to effectively co-ordinate our energy to keep a healthy balance through all systems of our body.

We have LOTS of meridians, but for the purpose of this post there are 12 main meridians that we will touch on here, looking at these meridians in their yin/yang pairs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ and its corresponding energy line is considered to be either yin or yang. Our yin organ tends to be more dense, passive and hidden away or protected within our body. While the yin meridian will run on an inner line of our body. Our yang organ is thought of as the doing organ. It’s a container that fills and empties.

Our meridians run through our body within our fascia (connective tissue) and they run through this watery substance just like rivers. If you think of a river, it’s easy to see how they can sometimes become blocked or stagnant if the flow or balance is off.

Here are these 12 major meridians:

Kidney (yin) / Urinary Bladder (yang)

Liver (yin) / Gall Bladder (yang)

Spleen (yin) / Stomach (yang)

Lungs (yin) / Large Intestine (yang)

Heart (yin) / Small Intestine (yang)

Pericardium (yin) / Triple Heater (yang)

When we’re well our energy is able to flow through our entire body freely. We feel well. All is good.

When we’re not, we notice. We often feel mental, physical or emotional symptoms that can be caused by an imbalance or blockage in the energy flowing through our meridians. We don’t necessarily see the energy running through our subtle body, but we can certainly feel its effects.

So, how can we find balance in an imbalanced energy line?

It’s probably no secret that my favourite way to find balance is through yin yoga, but it’s not the only way. Sometimes we’ll just need to go for a walk, shake it off, have a nap, eat something nourishing or go and have a massage, or get some acupuncture. I’m not here to say any of those things is the best or what you need, it could be something completely different for you.

I can really only speak to what we do in yin yoga here.

The way that yin yoga effects our subtle energetic body can be anything less than subtle. It can be uncomfortable. We might want to cry. We might want to laugh. We might be angry. Or sad. Or some other emotion that we weren’t expecting might pop up. Read more on why we feel the feels in yin yoga here. We can target a specific meridian in yin yoga by using specific poses. For example, if we want to target our Kidney line, we would most likely stretch the back/inner line of fascia in our body. But, we can also compress this line to effect it.

In a yin yoga practice, we are looking to release our energy and to release ‘stuff’ that is not serving us. Stuff that doesn’t need to take up space in our beings anymore. Plus, in a yin yoga practice we are often seeking to find balance within the meridians so that the map of our body is open, functioning well and we remain healthy.

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